Tag Archives: books

in praise of sleep

I’ve just finished At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien. Don’t let the incomprehensible title put you off. It contains vast stores of wisdom:

What is wrong with…most people…is that they do not spend sufficient time in bed.

I find nothing to disagree with in the above.

When a man sleeps, he is steeped and lost in a limp toneless happiness: awake he is restless, tortured by his body and the illusion of existence.

Flippin torturous body.

Why have men spent centuries seeking to overcome the awakened body?

YES. Forget this waste of thinking power, philosophers.

Put it to sleep, that is a better way. Let it serve only to turn the sleeping soul over, to change the blood-stream and thus make possible a deeper and more refined sleep…

In fact, let us all become cats:

cat pandaI admit he looks more like a panda in this photo, but it’s the same principle.

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Filed under the human condition

spot the difference! or, how The Economist can’t spell

The Economist Style Guide is a thing of beauty. But more for the book’s content than its cover.


click to embiggen


I checked, and ‘useage’ isn’t an alternative spelling. It isn’t optional. It’s just..how can I put this? Wrong.

And it’s on the front cover of a guide to how to write English. 

And they spell it correctly inside the book.


Filed under how not to write

weapons of mass description

the kind of description you should be writing

This quote is from Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco, and it illustrates one of the most important things to remember as a writer: DO NOT BORE YOUR READER.

People don’t like being bored. Newsflash! I know. I have literally never heard anyone say ‘I’m sooo bored right now, it’s amazing!’ or even ‘I can’t wait for the meeting on Thursday, I’m going to be so bored!’ 

When you write, people have a choice whether or not to read your output. It’s simple: if you bore them, you’re making that choice for them.

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Filed under how not to write

snow daze and more of the sailor

Oh, I do like to be beside the snowside! No wait, I’m sure that’s not how the song goes..

Yes, I have moved house. Yes, it snowed pretty much all weekend. Yes, that made the whole moving house process somewhat..interesting.

fun times ahead!

Do you see that shape at the bottom right hand corner of the photo? That’s my car, shortly before I removed just enough snow so that I could actually open the doors. Oh, and shortly before it started snowing again, but properly this time. Real snow that means business.

You might have gathered from the above that I was, perhaps, a little annoyed by the snow? Somewhat inconvenienced? Irritated by the white stuff falling from the sky?

Well, you’d be wrong. I’m actually screamingly excited, like a toddler on crack, about the snow. I’m just pretending to be bored and irritated because I’m supposed to be a grown up, and that’s what grown ups do, right? Continue reading


Filed under books

popcorn, shiny things, and a house to live in

It is here at last! The great day when I can announce to you all that I have found a place to live! Yeeeeah 😀

In less yeah-worthy news, I am struggling to blog on my new toy. More on that in a minute; but for now, here’s the good news:

I have viewed approximately ten zillion and seventy-eight apartments and houses in the past few months. Regular readers will know of my terrible* trials during this time. It started with the stressfulness of packing my stuff up from the old place, and musing about how my possessions resemble popcorn, in my handy guide to what you shouldn’t do when moving house:

Spend more time staring at your pile of stuff, wondering how it got to be so big, than actually packing it. Like…how does this happen? It all fits into your living quarters (relatively) neatly, then as soon as you start placing it all in boxes, it goes BOOM and expands to ten times the size. Like when you make popcorn. Right? Except less tasty and less suitable for movie snacking. Also a lot heavier.

popcorn time :DUnrelated: here is a corn I popped on Saturday. Looks a little bit like a spider.

Then, a while later, when I had viewed a few places and become somewhat disheartened by all the FROTHINGLY BONKERS people and UNSUITABLE FOR HUMAN HABITATION houses there are out there, I did not hold back on how I felt about the whole thing:

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Filed under books